CRAIG TRACEY: Your Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for North Warwickshire and Bedworth
Campaign website address: >> www.craigtracey.co.uk
As someone who lives and works locally, I am passionate about North Warwickshire. I am not a career politician.
Having run a small customer-facing business for nearly 20 years, I bring a wealth of experience from outside politics that will stand me in good stead to best represent local people. I understand the issues that concern them, as they affect me too.
I want us to have the best NHS which is always free at the point of use and will continue to work with our local health services to ensure that they have the support to continue their improvement. With the Conservatives the George Eliot has made great strides, coming out of special measures due to previous Labour mismanagement, to receiving a “Good” rating.
We cannot fund our NHS and other essential services without a strong economy and this must be our priority.
In North Warwickshire, unemployment has dropped by a staggering 70 per cent with the Conservatives and there are now 4,000 more apprentices.
I will always fight for our community against HS2 and will be a strong voice for residents to ensure the best possible compensation.
Finally, I want a referendum on the EU. We need to renegotiate our terms of membership including reclaiming powers on our laws and control of our borders – then put those renegotiated terms to the British people in an In/Out referendum to let them decide. I’m asking for your support on May 7, let’s look towards a brighter future. I will be a strong local MP dedicated to our community.
As someone who is not a career politician, I have served our community in many ways, such as an Employer, Parish Councillor, Chairman of our local Village Hall, a member of the Staffordshire Employment and Skills Board and trustee of two local charities.
Since being selected as the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate in September last year, I have been successful in combatting local crime and anti-social behaviour, led the campaign against improving road safety and implementing measures to prevent the causes of accidents rather than cure them.
I have successfully fought for residents against inappropriate development in areas such as Austrey and Bedworth. I have also fought alongside outgoing MP, Dan Byles, against HS2 and highlighted its impact in local communities, including bringing the transport Minister to the area to view the Railhead nr Kingsbury.
I have worked with the Grendon Action Group to fight the threat of a temporary traveller site and secured a meeting with the Portfolio Holder at the local Council for them to discuss the issue and form a better understanding of the situation and process.
Recently, I brought Communities Minister, Eric Pickles, to meet with local action Groups and Fillongley Parish Council to discuss the proposals to build on the former Daw Mill site. I personally drove Mr Pickles along the full route that HGVs would need to travel from Fillongley to Coleshill so that he could fully understand the implications of the development.
Finally, I was delighted to be instrumental in helping a Bedworth firm, Brose, secure funding which immediately triggered a further investment by them of £35m and the creation of up to 500 jobs for our local area.
I started my own small Insurance Broking business from scratch in 1996, aged just 21. Over the past 19 years I have employed many people from the local area – most having started on apprenticeships straight from school. In a highly competitive industry I am very proud of the fact that nearly all of our business comes from recommendation and we have built our reputation for providing first class customer service that focuses on always putting the needs of our clients first.
I am a Trustee of two local charities including the Lichfield Garrick Theatre which I was a founder Trustee of and was part of the team which saw it successfully become a registered Charity.
I have completed 5 Great North Runs and a London Marathon, raising nearly £10,000 in the process for Breast Cancer charities, a cause very close to my heart.
Q: Excluding HS2 and Street Lighting, what do you think are the two biggest issues facing North Warwickshire at present and how would you go about combating them?
A: HS2 is undeniably the single biggest issue raised on the doorstep, but a close second would be the failure of local councils in protecting our communities from inappropriate local development, especially on Green Field and Green Belt sites. I will continue to hold the local councils to account and ensure that they properly consult with residents and follow the correct planning procedures.
Finally, we need to secure the future of the George Eliot Hospital. Having successfully come out of special measures following mismanagement by the previous Labour Government, the hospital is making huge strides forward thanks to constructive investment which has seen more Doctors and Nurses and the work of the dedicated staff. I will continue to hold my regular meetings with the trust board to ensure the improvement continues, that the support required is delivered and that the hospital has a strong and effective voice representing them in Parliament.
Q: What immediate changes will your constituents notice if you win this election?
A: My predecessor, Dan Byles, was an excellent MP for our area and as someone who was also a constituent, I was very impressed with the hands on approach he took, especially in the fight against HS2. I want to be a real community MP – someone who not only represents our local area, but actively promotes it and stands up for it in Westminster. If elected, residents will see a strong and effective Member of Parliament who will put them ahead of party politics.
The following four questions were submitted by local residents to the Hustings debate which took place on 19th April at Coleshill Town Hall. These are the questions left unanswered due to time restraints. Please try and answer them if you have time as I would not want to leave them off your profile if the others are carrying them on theirs. Thank you.
The following four questions were submitted by local residents to the Hustings debate which took place on 19th April at Coleshill Town Hall. These are the questions left unanswered due to time restraints.
The Environment – (Mandy Windridge)
Q. Do the candidates have plans to promote renewable energy in this area?
A: Renewable energy is important, but we need to ensure that we invest in more homegrown energy and look at all of the available options. If we have a domestic supply, we reduce our exposure to international price fluctuation. I am very concerned, however, about the threat of inappropriate giant on-shore wind turbines in the local area.
International Development – (Jane Howell)
Q. The UN is introducing new sustainable development goals to replace the Millenium ones agreed in 2000. Unfortunately these make no mention of disability or neglected tropical diseases like leprosy. Will candidates be taking steps to see that such people are included when the new agreement is signed in September?
A: I would need to see the final proposals before seeing exactly what was needed to be done. It is clearly important that vulnerable and disabled people are supported and I would play my part in ensuring this happened.
Church – (Richard Windridge)
Q. Do the candidates have experience in working with churches to bring social transformation to needy communities? Are they prepared to work with church based initiatives in the community?
A: The Church has an important role in the community and does a lot of good particularly for those who have to turn to someone in time of need. I would be delighted to work alongside our local churches to support our communities if elected.
Electoral Process/Voting – (Nick Parker)
Q: Is coalition good for us? What would you say to the person who does not intend to vote?
A: I think that the coalition was in the best interests of the country at the time and gave stability following the worst recession that we have seen. When people on the doorstep tell me that they don’t vote, I would always try to get them to exercise the right, even if it’s not for me! Generally, disaffected voters think that their vote doesn’t count and won’t change anything.
That is certainly not true in North Warwickshire, every vote here will make a big difference to the outcome and I would always remind people of that. I think the current age of voting is right and can’t see the need to reduce it at the current time.
EU Referendum – (Richard Harwood)
Q: Regardless of your parties stance on an in/out EU referendum, how would you ensure voters are properly informed about the role the Union plays and the consequences of their vote either way?
A: Firstly, we need to renegotiate our terms with the EU. The renegotiation should centre around control of our borders, our laws and our responsibilities. Once we have renegotiated, the revised terms, if any, should be set out, all parties given the opportunity to state their case and then an “In/Out referendum” held.
It is important that this is done promptly, but not rushed, in order that people have a clear understanding of the implications. Based on the current agreement, I would vote to leave – it is up to the EU to give us a proposal that works for British people if they want us to remain as members.
I think it is vital that people are given the democratic right to vote on our relationship with the EU and find it incredible that Labour are not prepared to trust us with that decision. Only the Conservatives can deliver a referendum on our membership of the EU.